mixing shellac flakes

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by jtoomb, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. jtoomb

    jtoomb TDPRI Member

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    Preval'ing my 1st maple neck soon and have a few colors of dewaxed shellac flakes. My question is, to mix colors do I:

    1. mix different color flakes into 1 container?
    2. mix containers of single colors?
    3. Or not mix, and spray lighter or darker layers over each other to get the desired result?

    Cheers!
     
  2. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't know if there really is a single answer, but I know what I'd do: mix the flakes from the get-go and get the tone you like. Layers is asking for trouble; mixing colors separately and then combining seems unnecessarily complicated. I love, love, love shellac, and hope your project goes well. It's great stuff, IMO.
     
  3. jtoomb

    jtoomb TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for
    Thanks for the input! That sounds like a plan. Does it usually dry darker, lighter or about how it looks mixed? I’m planning on spraying a vintage tint, laying out a decal then spraying clear over until it’s smooth. Should I plan on spraying several tinted layers? From what I’ve read I should plan on spraying a crap ton of clear layers to smooth out the decal edges. Below is the link to my progress, if interested. Thanks again!
    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/wood-filler-and-sanding-sealer.976543/
     
  4. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I tried a Preval on a neck. It was too thick despite thinning the shellac.

    I had much better, actually great results, doing the French polish method. Some nitro lacquer over & that neck is still feeling/looking good.
     
  5. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would recommend mixing in small batches. The darker garnet types might have some sediment even after they're dissolved, so you'll want to filter that mini batch with a few layers of cheesecloth in a funnel (a coffee filter takes forever, too fine). Also some colors are more "de-waxed" than others so you might want to decant to remove the wax before mixing. Besides its so much easier to see what color your getting after the flakes are dissolved.

    But no, I would not try layers of different colors - the solvent from each new coat will melt what's already there and if there are any runs or sags they'll be a different color (don't ask me how I know that). Better to mix the color you want and then spray enough coats to sneak up on the depth or coverage that you're looking for.

    And always get fresh denatured alcohol because the longer the can is open the more moisture it will absorb from the atmosphere and eventually the shellac won't dry as hard.
     
  6. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

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    I've been using shellac for over two years now for everything I do. I finally switched to Klean-Strip's Green denatured alcohol from their regular one, and my results are fantastically better. I'm "guessing" (with plenty of internet evidence) that the main jump in quality here is from the completely different balance to the alcohol blend. The normal can is somewhere in the area of 40-45% ethanol, while the green is 85-90%. Using an alcohol blend that's probably around half methanol is needlessly stressful. It seems to flash off somewhere near 10x faster than ethanol alone (or with minor amounts of other alcohol). Stick to ethanol. This might be my single largest recommendation now.


    You can absolutely mass out the ratios you want and dissolve the flakes together. The less pale the shellac, the less refined it is, so you'll want to run it through a filter to ensure there's nothing extra undissolved. French polishing and other variants in wipe-based applications are actually very easy to execute, with the primary exception that you have to decide how you want to fill the pores -- either with a modern method, the French polishing method (cutting back with pumice), or purely sanding back as you build to ensure everything's level. Maple's obviously less porous than most woods used for bodies, but even then, you really shouldn't count on spraying to do all the work for you and eliminate it as a variable. If you're set on spraying, I would consider doing the final coat(s) by hand to bring out the rich dimensional quality people appreciate from shellac, which is probably the most decisive reason to use it contemporarily. I also like the feel, but I'm sure I'd enjoy Tru Oil as well.
     
  7. Biffasmum

    Biffasmum TDPRI Member

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    I’d suggest practising mix ratios on same, sample wood types then decide what you like. You can buy some maple boards, cut them down and try out crazy stuff and see what works. Shellac keeps for a while, so the only obstacles are your creativity and impatience!
     
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